VoIP Call Screening

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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VoIP Call Screening

Robert Traphan, a college friend of mine stayed at my house last night and we were talking about the various VoIP products and services. Robert is a former SunRocket customer until the SunRocket implosion. Robert was a huge fan of SunRocket over both Packet8 and Vonage. One of his favorite features was SunRocket Signature Message Screener, a piece of software that runs on your PC and allows you to see who is calling (Caller ID with Name) via a TOAST icon in the System Tray. Even cooler, SunRocket Signature Message Screen lets you screen the voicemail message on your PC speakers as it is being left in real-time and it allows you to redirect the call to a predefined number (such as your cell phone).

SunRocket Signature Screener
SunRocket Signature Message Screener image courtesy of MyDigitalLife.us

Because it automatically plays out your PC speakers, the software gives your hosted VoIP voicemail service the feeling of a true home answering machine. Robert's only complaint he told me is that when the caller is leaving a message and you decide to redirect them they hear a ringing tone, which can be disconcerting to the caller.

Still call screening on broadband VoIP service is a must. Why oh why Vonage, Packet8, and all the others haven't copied this feature yet is beyond me. When I did have Vonage, I disabled their hosted voicemail because I like to screen callers and used a Uniden 5.8GHz TRU8885-2 multi-handset phone system which features call screening on any of the phone handsets. After all, the call could be a telemarketing call, or it could be family or friends calling. Without live call screening to me and to many people the voicemail system is useless. I should also point out that CallWave can be used as a hosted voicemail replacement and they support not only call screening but also Voicemail-To-Text transcribing. (See: Rich's post on CallWave) Why don't any of the major broadband VoIP service providers offer this functionality?

Robert was very sad to hear SunRocket was ceasing operations, which meant he was losing call screening. He asked me for advice on which VoIP service provider I'd recommend he switch to. However, we both learned that Teleblend was going to take over SunRocket's operations and maintain the existing feature set, including SunRocket Signature Message Screener. He's been a happy Teleblend user ever since. His only complaints about them is they don't seem to update their website very often and they started a blog, which also isn't updated.

Then Robert started talking about the big hoopla surrounding the Skype outage. Robert said, "Did you hear about the Skype outage? Apparently, Microsoft Windows Update caused the Skype supernode network to crash."

With a big grin on my face, I responded, "Did I hear about the Skype outage? I broke the story about the Skype outage and I theorized what the cause was - Microsoft Patch Tuesday and I was right. I was linked to by several bloggers & websites, including Computerworld, PC World, GigaOM, and Good Morning Silicon Valley. A couple mainstream media outlets linked to it and the San Francisco Chronicle called me for an interview on this major news since I broke the story. (SFC article is here.)"

I thought to myself, "Sheesh, don't you read my blog? [sigh] With friends like these..."


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